In this week's 'Making of a Royal' blog, head coach Pat LaFontaine talks about the production of center Joey Fallon (5-foot-8, 162 pounds) of West Islip, N.Y. Fallon, who is playing a huge role for the Long Island Royals this season, is currently third on the team in scoring with 43 points. LaFontaine has coached Fallon five out of his eight seasons with the team.
Joey is a game-breaker type of player; he has tremendous work ethic and is a quiet leader. He's just a real great kid. He'll make a strong rush or tremendous back check or big hit and he'll do something that usually has an impact on our game … he comes to play every night and is a real character kid. I've watched him grow and he faces adversity head on, he's been a real leader.
Even though he might not be one of the tallest kids, they all look up to him. It's not like he's this lanky player coming at you … it's like a solid force. He's always making big plays and all the guys are counting on Joey to be there every game. He's one of those players who makes an impact on every single shift. I think a lot of his mental and physical toughness come from the fact he's a black belt in jiu jitsu.
Having him on the team has been a lot of fun.
He's one of the three centers that rotate every game, so he's out there on the penalty kill and power play … in all situations. He's a real well-rounded hockey player.
I think it's important for the players to learn to play on other lines, and all get to know each other.
There are combinations now where I see some good chemistry, so I kind of have the kids plays on different lines and in different situations -- it's allowed the coaching staff and myself to see who might click together more often than not.
I think it's also important for those players to get to know each other on the ice and know their tendencies. I do think it's important to keep together in a short tournament, but also not be afraid. There are times in a game where you might get an injury or penalty, and then you won't know if the guys are going to have that experience playing together, so it does help.
The boys have had some strong weekends and this is the time in the year to start elevating your play. I've been really pleased with the way the team has been playing and executing.
I had one really not-good game. I came back to the hotel and he [his father] was on Skype. My mother called first and said, 'Your father wants to talk to you.' So he moved my mother away, and he yelled at me for like 30 seconds. I understood him, and then he said, 'I'm done.' And he was gone. The next game I got my first shutout.
— Anton Khudobin recalls a fond memory, explains why he was so sharp in the Hurricanes' 3-0 win against the Capitals on Friday